lic·​o·​rice | \ˈli-k(ə-)rish, -k(ə-)rəs \

Definition of licorice 

1a : the dried root of a European leguminous plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra) with pinnate leaves and spikes of blue flowers also : an extract of this used especially in medicine, liquors, and confectionery

b : a candy flavored with licorice or a substitute (such as anise)

2 : a plant yielding licorice also : a related plant

Examples of licorice in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

For anyone with melasma or mild hyperpigmentation, powerful ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, vitamin E, kojic acid, hydroquinone or licorice root are the perfect choice for their brightening capabilities. Michelle Gant, Fox News, "Get brighter, glowing skin with these tips," 21 Aug. 2018 Made from single varieties of sugarcane like the giant red Mahai’ula and the thin, delicate yellow-green Lahi, this rum opens with a pungent whiff of truffle, then reveals sweeter licorice and peppery notes. Matthew Kronsberg, WSJ, "‘Grass-to-Glass’ Rums: What You Need to Know," 3 Aug. 2018 For tails, cut licorice laces into twelve 3-inch pieces. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Mouse Cupcakes," 27 July 2018 Barry: Marla was obsessive about the skincare benefits – it's got Vitamin E, aloe, seaweed, goldenberry, chamomile, and licorice extract. Town & Country, "Powerful Pairs: Bluemercury's Marla Malcolm Beck & Barry Beck," 12 Aug. 2014 In Kentucky, black licorice jelly beans reign supreme among candy lovers, according to Taylor M. Riley, The Courier-Journal, "Can you guess Kentucky's favorite jelly bean flavor? It's a polarizing taste.," 22 Mar. 2018 The liquor lent its distinctive licorice kiss, but also played surprisingly well with other flavors. Craig Laban,, "Suraya's Arak-tails showcase the Middle East's ancient anise spirit," 21 June 2018 With a low pH (very important), the foam-free gel formula also has stuff like licorice root, centella, witch hazel, and aloe — four cornerstones for hydration, balance, brightening, and calming. Allure Editors, Allure, "The Best New Beauty Products This Month," 9 July 2018 Hertzmark Hudis spoke with the Cut about her (other) favorite white linens, her distaste for black licorice and the room in her home that truly calms her. Jane Larkworthy, The Cut, "Estée Lauder’s Jane Hertzmark Hudis Believes Skin Care Is Self Care," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'licorice.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of licorice

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for licorice

Middle English licorice, from Anglo-French licoris, from Late Latin liquiritia, alteration of Latin glycyrrhiza, from Greek glykyrrhiza, from glykys sweet + rhiza root — more at dulcet, root

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Statistics for licorice

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for licorice

The first known use of licorice was in the 13th century

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English Language Learners Definition of licorice

: a candy made from the dried root of a European plant


lic·​o·​rice | \ˈli-kə-rish, -rəs\

Kids Definition of licorice

1 : the dried root of a European plant or a juice from it used in medicine and in candy

2 : candy flavored with licorice


variants: or chiefly British liquorice \ˈlik(-​ə)-​rish, -​rəs \

Medical Definition of licorice 

1 : a European leguminous plant of the genus Glycyrrhiza (G. glabra) with pinnate leaves and spikes of blue flowers

2a : glycyrrhiza sense 2

b : an extract of glycyrrhiza commonly prepared in the form of a gummy or rubbery paste

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More from Merriam-Webster on licorice

Spanish Central: Translation of licorice

Nglish: Translation of licorice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of licorice for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about licorice

Comments on licorice

What made you want to look up licorice? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

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